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Inside track: Local Government

27 February 2019

#Local Government, #Government

Inside track: Local Government

In the media

IA Priority List more responsive to sustainable growth needs
Infrastructure Australia’s expanded list of priority projects has been applauded by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) for progressing a more integrated approach to managing Australia’s growth fairly and sustainably (14 February 2019).  More...

'Game changer' infrastructure spend on the cards in Queensland
Mr Morrison added that it is important that City Deals also include major capital cities, which are the areas that need the benefits of the increased spending and infrastructure projects the most to support a growing population. City Deals have been written up for Western Sydney, Townsville and Launceston, while Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin and Geelong are in the works (12 February 2019).  More...

Planning expert’s call for cities rethink
Conventional approaches won’t solve our infrastructure and transport woes, warns former senior administrator Peter Seamer. Australian governments need to create “localised cities” by planning suburban CBDs, major employment clusters and vibrant town centres, so people can live nearer places of work (11 February 2019).  More...

‘Citizen sourcing’ to improve councils’ image
Local government can substantially improve public perceptions of key decisions by engaging with locals through online platforms, new research shows. The use of online platforms promoting citizen participation in government decision-making increases trust in and satisfaction with local government (11 February 2019).  More...

Black Saturday: Bushfire planning as our population grows
Bushfire planning around our expanding urban environments is crucial for dealing with Australia’s increasing bushfire risk. While significant advances have been made since 2009 in urban planning and building, many challenges remain, including houses built to meet building standards (6 February 2019).  More...

Council mergers ‘failed to yield the benefits’
Contrary to typical arguments in favour of local government amalgamation, a new analysis says the changes did not lead to efficiencies. The research, which analysed measures of technical efficiencies before and after council mergers, found that two years after the mergers, amalgamated councils reported a technical efficiency score “well below” the non-amalgamated councils (4 February 2019).  More...


Flood-hit Queensland shires welcome federal payments
The Federal Government announced that it would provide an immediate non-gratia payment of $1 million to shires in north west Queensland recently inundated by devastating floods (15 February 2019).  More...

Partnership with councils needed to achieve zero waste future
Local councils have welcomed new laws governing the future of waste management in Queensland but will remain vigilant in ensuring that households not wear the costs (14 February 2019).  More...

Grants open to boost tourism in the Outback
Through the Premier’s Outback Events Program, the Government is offering $3 million in funding, supporting events hosted across 27 eligible Local Government areas. Ms Palaszczuk said "we’re encouraging local councils, community groups and businesses to create new events or extend existing events" (13 February 2019).  More...

First step for SEQ City Deal
Securing a City Deal for South East Queensland (SEQ) is one step closer with the release of of a far-reaching blueprint by the State Government and the Council of Mayors (SEQ) (12 February 2019).  More...

The State Government and the Council of Mayors are looking at ways to open up government land for development
A City Deal could pave the way for government-owned land to be opened for development, as all levels of government work to deliver a “better” future for southeast Queensland (12 February 2019).  More...

Brisbane DA lodged for 'record sale' site in New Farm
One of Brisbane's best parcels of land is now the site of one of the city's most ambitious houses, according to a development application lodged with Brisbane City Council (11 February 2019).  More...

Funding takes Cherbourg material recovery facility to next level
The annual production capacity of Cherbourg’s recycling facility is set to more than treble thanks to funding from Round 4 of the Palaszczuk Government’s successful $295 million Building our Regions (BoR) program. Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Arnold Murray welcomed this new round of Building our Regions funding (9 February 2019).  More...

Townhouses to be kept out of suburbs if council approves temporary ban
Townhouses and apartment blocks may no longer be welcome in Brisbane's character suburbs after Brisbane City Council votes on a temporary local planning instrument to protect the backyard from being built out (4 February 2019).  More...

Mt Coot-tha Zip-Line Given Go-Ahead by Brisbane City Council
The controversial Mt Coot-tha zip-line has been given the go-ahead by the Brisbane City Council, despite opposition council claims the project still needs approval from the state government (4 February 2019).  More...

Councillors not prosecuted if they follow conflict of interest meeting aid
Queensland councillors will not be prosecuted for making incorrect conflict of interest declarations in council meetings, if they can demonstrate they have, in good faith, followed a step-by-step aid to determine if they have a conflict of interest, according to Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian, head of the new councillor complaints body (4 February 2019).  More...

LGAQ: Councils welcome new integrity guidelines
New guidelines on managing conflicts of interest in local government will help provide councillors with a clearer picture on what is expected of them in the wake of the Belcarra integrity reforms (4 February 2019).  More...


Recycling industry volatility continues
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is calling for consideration to be given to greater State Government oversight of the recycling industry amid notice by the Environment Protection Authority to stop two Melbourne sites from receiving recyclable materials (15 February 2019).  More...

New homes and more jobs in our fastest growing areas
The Andrews Labor Government is planning for 12 new communities to sustain Melbourne’s 15-year land supply, which is critical for keeping house and land packages affordable. Detailed planning work will include a mixture of employment, residential and mixed-use neighbourhood (15 February 2019).  More...

It could take two years to replace flammable cladding in Melbourne, says building authority
Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne says removing flammable cladding from the most high-risk buildings in Melbourne is a “complex problem which will take some time to fix properly” (12 February 2019).  More...

Engaging with rural councils and communities
The Know Your Council website – which enables government, councils and community members to compare local councils’ performance across a range of measures such as animal management, waste services and financial performance – has revealed some interesting facts about the Councils visited (8 February 2019).  More...

Enquiry into how local councils handle complaints from the public
All of Victoria’s 79 local councils will be surveyed on how they handle complaints from the public as part of an enquiry undertaken by Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass. Ms Glass said complaints about local government typically account for about a quarter of all complaints to my office each year (6 February 2019).  More...

New South Wales 

Biggest overhaul of building laws in New South Wales' history
New home owners will be better protected after the NSW Government announced strong plans to improve the building and construction industry (11 February 2019).  More...

New South Wales coal mine ruled out due to climate change, in landmark court decision
A  judge has cited climate change in a landmark ruling blocking plans to develop an open-cut coal mine in the state’s Hunter Valley region (8 February 2019).  More...

Sydney council to fight stadium demolition
Waverley Council has voted to launch legal action in the Land and Environment Court on the basis the planning minister approved the new stadium without first determining it would exhibit “design excellence” as required under the Sydney Local Environment Plan (8 February 2019).  More...

Operation Rubble state-wide crackdown on rogue waste transporters
A coordinated state-wide multi-agency crackdown on the illegal transportation and dumping of waste, held throughout November 2018 disrupted the criminal waste trade. RID Squads and Programs are regionally-based teams specialising in combating and preventing illegal dumping, co-funded by the EPA and member councils. They work across 35 local government areas (5 February 2019).  More... 

$170 million transformation for Western Sydney communities
Western Sydney will undergo a liveability upgrade with the announcement of millions of dollars in projects to revitalise community infrastructure and public spaces. Under Round One of the Western City Liveability Program, eight councils will receive funding for a string of important local projects (5 February 2019).  More...

In practice and courts

Princes Highway Strategy
The federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has engaged GHD Advisory to develop a whole-of-corridor strategy for the Princes Highway – a vital part of the national road network linking local and regional communities. Part of Australia’s Highway 1 network, the 1,941 km route extends through New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, connecting Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide. Councils are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft strategy. Consultation commenced in December 2018 and is to continue through until the end of April 2019 (25 January 2019).

National General Assembly 2019 motions
ALGA seeks motions to be submitted for the National General Assembly taking place from 16 June 2019  on the theme ‘Future Focused’. A discussion paper is available with more details on the theme and submission guidelines.

New South Wales 

Example local strategic planning statement
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has developed an example local strategic planning statement, based on a fictional regional area, to help councils prepare their own statements. The example is not a template that councils are required to adopt. Councils may base their LSPSs on the example or develop a different structure to suit their individual circumstances (15 February 2019).

New dates for Environmental Planning & Assessment Act updates
Councils, certifiers and other industry practitioners have more time to implement some of the recent EP&A Act updates. Changes affect new provisions for building and subdivision certification, local strategic planning statements for councils in the Greater Sydney Region and community participation plans.


New guidelines on managing conflicts of interest in local government
These guidelines are aimed at helping councillors make good decisions on behalf of their local communities. The guidelines were developed in consultation with the LGAQ (04 February 2019).
View the guidelines here:

Queensland Land Court Practice Directions
Procedure for deciding compensation disputes and conduct and compensation disputes
Land Court and Land Appeal Court of Queensland, 3 of 2019 (06/02/2019)


New South Wales

Aldi Foods Pty Ltd v Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority [2019] NSWCATAD 26
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Where respondent refused application for packaged liquor licence – assessment of overall social impact of granting the licence – whether that impact will not be will not be detrimental to the well-being of the local or broader community. 

Gloucester Resources Limited v Minister for Planning [2019] NSWLEC 7
(1) The appeal is dismissed.
APPEAL – Open cut coal mine – impacts on existing, approved and likely preferred uses of land in the vicinity – high visual impact – negative social impacts – impacts of the mine on climate change – economic and public benefits of the mine and other land uses – impacts and costs of mine outweigh benefits of mine – development consent refused.
Gloucester Development Control Plan 2010; Gloucester Local Environmental Plan 2010. 

AS Investment Company Pty Ltd v Liverpool City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1054
(1) The appeal is dismissed.
APPEAL – Application for subdivision of land – maximum lot yield applies to an area in which the land is located – subdivision will result in breach of maximum lot yield under cl 7.12 of the local environmental plan – whether prohibition or development standard.
The structure of the LLEP 2008 and the context of cl 7.12 support this interpretation. This leaves a local council with the only option to create a prohibition on subdivision, in certain areas or circumstances, through an entirely separate clause. 

Kingsford Property Developments v Randwick City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1055
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Dual occupancy - minimum lot size - compliance with DCP controls. 

Steel v Liverpool City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1049
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Boarding house - compatibility with the character of the local area - impact on neighbours’ amenity and internal amenity. 

Whittaker v Northern Beaches Council [2019] NSWLEC 1038
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Seniors living – permissibility of use determined by the Court as a preliminary issue – building height – streetscape compatibility – tree removal – neighbourhood amenity and impacts – privacy for future residents – safe pedestrian access to bus stop for future residents – resolution of contentions by amended plans and new footpath – neighbour objections. 

Pennine Developments Pty Ltd v Cumberland Council [2019] NSWLEC 1031
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Multi Dwelling Housing – affordable rental housing – compatibility of the development with the locality – appropriateness of two storey development at the rear of the site – streetscape presentation of the development – application warrants refusal. 

Owen v Coffs Harbour City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1032
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Subdivision - compliance with requirements of DCP. 

Landmark Group Australia Pty Limited v Lane Cove Council [2019] NSWLEC 1034
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Demolition and construction of residential flat development - principal issue whether the development creates an isolated site - minimum site area standard not achieved - variation to the site area control reasonable - approval warranted. 

Progress East Pty Ltd v Randwick City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1029
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Modification of development consent - s 4.55(1A) of EPA Act - whether substantially the same development - whether minimal environmental impact - amenity - objections - consent orders. 

Sydney Tools Pty Ltd v Canterbury-Bankstown Council (No 2) [2019] NSWLEC 6
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Review of the Registrar’s decision to allow amendment of a development proposal before the Court.


Woolnough v Isaac Regional Council [2019] QSC 17
TORTS – TRESPASS – TRESPASS TO LAND AND RIGHTS OF REAL PROPERTY – WHAT CONSTITUTES TRESPASS AND DEFENCES THERETO – TRESPASS TO LAND – Where the plaintiffs allege a sewer main was installed in 2007 without their consent – whether in fact the sewer main was installed in 2005 with the consent of the previous owners.
TORTS – NUISANCE – WHAT CONSTITUTES – PRIVATE NUISANCE – Where the plaintiffs allege there has been underground erosion around a sewer main resulting in its breach and the escape of sewage onto their property – whether there was such a breach – whether there was such leakage of sewage onto their property – where the defendant adduced expert evidence and the plaintiffs did not.
DAMAGES – MEASURE AND REMOTENESS OF DAMAGES IN ACTIONS FOR TORT – MEASURE OF DAMAGES – DAMAGE TO LAND AND BUILDINGS – Where the plaintiffs allege installation of a sewer main caused subsidence to their shed slab, house slab and fence – where the allegation of subsidence forms part of the generic claim of loss and damage – whether the installation did cause subsidence to the shed slab, house slab or rear fence. Local Government Act 1993 (Qld), s 1070(2)(b).

Samarasekera v Charters Towers Regional Council [2019] QIRC 31
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Legal representation - interpretation - leave granted.
Industrial Relations Act 2016 Qld s 317, s 530


New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel) Order 2019 (2019-74) — published LW 15 February 2019
Local Land Services Amendment (Allowable Activities) Regulation 2019 (2019-78) — published LW 15 February 2019
Electoral Funding Amendment (Savings and Transitional) Regulation 2019 (2019-58) — published LW 8 February 2019

Environmental Planning Instruments

State Environmental Planning Policy (Aboriginal Land) 2019 (2019-55) — published LW 6 February 2019
State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) Amendment (Inland Code) 2019 (2019-67) — published LW 8 February 2019


Bills updated

Transport Legislation (Road Safety and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Introduced by: Hon M Bailey MP on 13/02/2019
Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 13/02/2019

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

Introduced by: Hon L Enoch MP on 6/09/2018
Stage reached: 2nd reading adjourned on 13/02/2019

No 4 Nature Conservation (Protected Areas Management) (Main Range National Park) Amendment Regulation 2019 08/02/2019

Subordinate legislation as made 

No 8 Rural and Regional Adjustment (North and Far North Queensland Flood Disaster Recovery Funding) Amendment Regulation 2019 14/02/2019

No 6 Planning (Excluded Development) Amendment Regulation 2019 15/02/2019

No 7 Proclamation—Crime and Corruption and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (commencing remaining provisions) 15/02/2019 - The Proclamation will commence the amendments to the definition of ‘corrupt conduct’ which expand the Commission’s corruption jurisdiction and therefore enhances the Commission’s responsibility to promote public confidence in the integrity of the public sector.

Gerard Timbs, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0644

Jenny Humphris, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0690

Joseph Monaghan, Partner 
T: +61 3 9321 9857 

Peter Holt, Special Counsel
T: +61 2 8083 0421

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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